I didn't have to leave home until about noon, as I had an afternoon flight to London, and that felt really good!
I wasn't in great shape as a lot had been happening just before the trip, and I didn't feel as prepared to go as I would have wanted, and so it was very nice not to be able to rush away at the crack of dawn.
I had everything packed and was on my way just before noon, took a bus to the railway station and a train to Lund. Had to wait there for about 40 minutes for the Airport transfer bus - I guess I could have taken a later train, but I felt I didn't want to take a chance in case that train was late.
Everything went well, I had bought my bus ticket (return ticket) online, and all I had to do was hold the printed code on my E-ticket against a reader in the bus and that was it.
The busride took about 40 minutes, and we arrived at Malmö Sturup almost exactly at 2 p.m. My flight was due to leave at 4.40, so I figured the check-in desks would open about 2.40. Still, I'd rather have the wait, as I was insecure on pretty much everything, than have to rush and feel totally stressed out.
I had some waiting to do, ended up sitting next to this woman who started chatting with me. At first it was rather nice, took some of the stress away from me, but as she went on and on and on, it became a bit annoying after a while. She didn't have any luggage to check in so right before 3 p.m. I went over to the check-in desks, basically the whole area was completely deserted, it felt almost spooky ... occasionally one or two people came, but I'm kind of used to airports being crowded ... Still, realizing there was no one in line (!) for the check-in, I made my way there and was through without a hitch!
After that came the security checks, and for some reason they always make me nervous ... I know I don't have anything dangerous with me and that it shouldn't be a problem, but I still get really stressed out! The lady before me "beeped" going through the scanner, and that of course made me even more nervous, but nothing happened to me, and I could just grab my bag and go - nice!
I had some waiting to do, but again it felt good to be on time, especially since it took me a great long while to actually find the gate! *lol* Apparently they had hidden away a number of gates for abroad travel behind the major passport controls, but it took me a few walks around the terminal to figure that out! :-)
The passport control was closed, but I didn't have to wait long before it opened, and from there we were sent directly to the gate for further checks on boarding cards/passports.
A bit more waiting there, but the way they organized the waiting areas with Priority Boarding and Other was very good. I have a bit of a regret here though ... I felt a bit nervous and stressed out over the whole travelling thing, since it was a long time ago since the last time and also, I pretty much have never done it on my own before - so as soon as people started lining up I joined in. However, our gate was at the very end of the terminal, and just a few meters from where we were waiting was this big room with great windows facing the runway - and there were a few planes taking off and landing as we waited. Had I kept my cool a bit I think I could have gotten some awesome photos ...
Boarding went very quickly, and I got a good seat at the window, and apparently the flight wasn't full, because nobody sat in the seat next to me - which was quite nice as the Ryanair planes are quite tight normally!
The flight went really well, though the weather in Malmö when we took off wasn't great, stormy and rainy ... it was a bit turbulent taking off and you didn't see much either as the clouds were really low. However, once we were above the clouds, the flight went well, and quick!! We landed at Stansted Airport (quite windy, though no rain) about half an hour early! Yikes!
I had actually almost forgotten how long it takes to walk from the gates at Stansted and into the mail building for the Passport control, it's quite a bit to walk, but I was quick off the plane and there weren't that many people in line for the Passport control ... and the guy there just scanned my Passport, said thank you and that was it! :-) Figured I had to wait a while for my luggage though, but after only a few minutes my flight was up on the monitors. Figured then that I probably had to wait a while for my bag ... well, bag number 3 or 4 that came was mine! Incredible!!
Took a short bathroom break before heading down to the Stansted Express platforms where I quickly found the ticket machines and was going to pick up my tickets. The first thing I had to do was put in my credit card (for verification purposes only, as I had already paid when I bought the tickets online. And the machine simply refused to take my card no matter how hard I tried. I figured that I had to try another machine before seeking assistance, and yes, the other machine happily accepted my credit card and my reference number and gave me my tickets! :-)
A train was standing on the platform, but I figured it was the 6 p.m.-train and it was basically 6 p.m. so I figured I'd take it easy and wait for the next train (they leave every 15 minutes), but all of a sudden there was this ticket controller-looking guy there, quickly checked my ticket and said that I should hurry, it was this train here and it was about to leave - so before I knew it I was on the 6 o'clock train toward London Liverpool Street!
Pretty amazing considering we were supposed to land at Stansted Airport at 5.30 (we landed about 5 though, but still...)!!
There were a lot of people on the train, I had to stand all the way to Tottenham Hale and I was quite tired, but the last stretch was kind of nice - it was nice to sit down (!) and the weather had cleared up so I watched a beautiful sunset as we were coming in toward London!
We arrived at Liverpool Street at 6.50 and I was really happy to already have my Travel Card, as all I had to do was make my way up to the buses, and within five minutes came a bus 23! The bus trip wasn't so great though ... a lot of people on the bus, it was getting really dark, and was a bit stressed out about my hotel. As you may have read here in a previous post, there was a bit of drama regarding my booking, and I felt that I really needed the hotel to work out as I was going to stay for so long ...
I managed to get off at the right bus stop (Sussex Gardens) and after a little bit of looking around it turned out that the hotel was only about 100 meters from the bus stop - amazing!!
Checking in went supersmooth, I just filled in a form, paid for the room and got my keycard, and that was it. Took the elevator to the second floor and found room 201 just around the corner from the elevator. And realized there was no slot to put your keycard in .... Panicked a little bit, until I realized that it was a touch-keycard, so all you had to do was hold the card against the lock on the handle of the door, a green light blinked and you were in! :-)
The room was really really small, which I was quite prepared for, but it was so nice and clean and fresh and had everything I needed! The view from the windows wasn't very exciting (lol!) - see photos for that - but hey, I didn't go to London to sit in my hotel room and look out the window, right?!
I was completely exhausted but it felt amazing and absolutely fantastic that the entire day had gone without a hitch! Marvellous!!